Published on August 13, 2018

Pella Regional Health Center Quality Improvement in ACO

PELLA, Iowa— Pella Regional Health Center and its family of medical clinics has collaborated with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield since 2015 as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) providing medical care for Wellmark members. The purpose of this ACO is to better coordinate care for patients, resulting in higher quality, lower costs and improved patient experience.

Based on results in both 2016 and 2017, Pella Regional achieved the highest percent increase in quality compared to all other participating organizations as determined by Wellmark’s Value Index Score (VIS). In 2017 alone, Pella Regional’s quality score increased by more than 12%.

The VIS rating is based on scientific principles and a set of measures developed from research about health care quality. The score assists in measuring the effectiveness of an ACO and provides information on a doctor’s performance.

The six main factors composing the VIS scoring are:

  • Screening for early detection or prevention of disease
  • Managing urgent health issues
  • Managing the health of patients with chronic conditions
  • Continuity of patient visits
  • Engagement with recently discharged hospital patients
  • Efficient use of drugs and avoiding unnecessary medical tests and services

“We are very proud of the improvements our providers and staff have made over the last several years in this program, but what matters the most is that we are improving the care for our patients and the communities we serve,” said Amanda Schwerdtfeger, CPHQ, Clinical Informatics Advisor at Pella Regional.

As part of an ACO, Pella Regional gets insights from Wellmark and other organizations on possible improvements. Some of those ideas have led to greater access for patients including extended hours, increased numbers of same day appointments and the First Fill Pharmacy at Pella Medical Clinic.